Cameroon Alumina has discovered 550 million tonnes of bauxite reserves at the Ngaoundal and Minim-Martap properties in the Adamawa region of Cameroon.

Cameroon Alumina is a joint venture between Dubai Aluminium Company and India’s Hindalco Industries, with each holding a 45% stake.

US-based Hydromine holds the remaining stake.

Cameroon Alumina co-chair Peter Briger told Reuters that the company has discovered at least 550 million tonnes of bauxite with indications that there may be an additional 200 million tonnes.

“The bauxite is first-class quality. It is not terribly deep in the ground,” he said.

Briger said the company hopes that mining operations at the site will annually yield 4.5 million to nine million tonnes of bauxite from late 2014.

“The geology and mining feasibility report is under finalisation and should be ready by 31 October,” Briger said.

“The real challenge is the logistics problem because the mining site is 860km from the port. The key, therefore, is to find an efficient and cost-effective way of bringing processed alumina to the port for export.”

Briger said the company is in talks with the government regarding the upgrade and expansion of railway links to the Kribi deep sea port from the mines.

Cameroon Alumina’s general manager Eric Lavalou said the mine will cost about $5bn to construct with the company aiming for a mining licence from government by the end of 2009.

“Over all, the project is progressing well, within all stakeholders expectations,” Lavalou said.

“If all goes well according to our plan, the bankable feasibility study should be through in 2012 and make way for construction work to begin, which will last 40 months. We expect the first shipment of Cameroon alumina in five years”.